Yankees RHP Dellin Betances' issues with his control on the mound continued as he walked the only two batters he faced in Monday's 7-3 win over the Cleveland Indians in Game 4 of the ALDS at Yankee Stadium.
Betances, who entered a four-run game after Luis Severino threw seven strong innings, was pulled after walking Yan Gomes and Francisco Lindor to put the game-tying run on deck.
"I threw a couple of really bad pitches," Betances said to reporters after the game. "Even with my slider, I was yanking it a little bit. It was just one of those days. ... It was frustrating today, being out there and putting the team in that situation."
Manager Joe Girardi replaced Betances with Tommy Kahnle, who who retired all six batters he faced in a two-inning save.
"Dellin struggled throwing strikes and I just felt like I had to make the move to go to Kahnle," Girardi said after the game. "And in a night where you're trying to stay away from (Aroldis) Chapman, I'm trying to do everything I can to stay away from Chapman, so I just felt like I had to make the move. His other four innings have been really pretty good."
Betances, who took the loss in Game 2 of the ALDS when a leadoff walk in the 13th inning eventually led to Gomes' walk-off single, struggled with command issues over the last six weeks of the regular season. In 16 outings, Betances went 0-2 with a blown save, a 5.68 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. Seven times, he allowed multiple batters to reach base.
In his previous 11 games from July 27 to Aug. 19, Betances pitched 12 scoreless innings with 17 strikeouts, three hits and four walks.
Kahnle, meanwhile, allowed one run, 10 hits and six walks in 13 1/3 innings from Aug. 24 to Sept. 30.
"Kahnle did a tremendous job -- I got to thank him, but you can't put guys on, and today I did," Betances said. "I just got to try to put this game behind me and help the team out in Cleveland."
Severino's seven-inning redemption performance and Kahnle's two-inning, five-strikeout mastery not only boosted the Yankees to their Game 4 victory, but helps New York set up its bullpen for Game 5.
David Robertson and Chapman have turned in high-leverage, multiple inning appearances during the postseason, where not having to pitch in Game 4 allows for even more recuperation time. The Yankees will need Robertson and Chapman at their strongest for Game 5, so they will benefit immensely from two days off.
With CC Sabathia the scheduled starter, the formula could go one of two ways, but will likely involve the same pitchers. The Yankees will hope for a solid four or five innings, and if they have the lead they can turn things over to Adam Warren, Chad Green, Kahnle, Robertson and Chapman. Honestly, we could see all the same pitchers if Sabathia falters early, much like they were forced to do when Severino crumbled in the wild-card game.
Notice, Betances left off the listing as he simply cannot be trusted at the moment. It's a shame because Betances has meant so much to this team, but loyalty cannot be part of the decision-making process with the season on the line.